Topeka joins Tobacco 21, nationwide effort to prevent teen smoking


December 12, 2017 - 12:00 AM

Topeka joined the ranks last week in banning the sale of tobacco products to those under 21. That swells the total, including Iola, to 18 in Kansas. Altogether, 300 communities across 18 states have joined the effort to raise the sales age from 18 to 21. Five states — California, Oregon, Hawaii, Maine and New Jersey — have enacted statewide bans.
Despite the common knowledge that smoking or chewing tobacco products can ruin your health, the tobacco industry is a formidable foe, devoting more than $8 billion a year in marketing in the United States alone.
Today’s menthol cigarettes and other flavored “starter products” such as e-cigarettes and hookahs are designed specifically to attract younger audiences. Because cigarettes and the like are highly addictive, the tobacco industry targets teens for two reasons:
1. Their physiologies are more susceptible to becoming addicted, and
2. Once addicted, they guarantee a longer revenue stream.
The good news is that anti-tobacco campaigns work, too.
Truth Initiative is one such nationwide campaign. Its focus is to deter youth from starting the habit by showing the negative  health and social consequences of using tobacco products.
Truth Initiative research shows that its annual campaigns have prevented more than 300,000 of today’s youth from becoming smokers.
One argument against smoking is that it robs years off your life.
A better argument is that smoking affects the quality of your life. Common symptoms among tobacco users include compromised respiratory and pulmonary function resulting in shortness of breath and chronic coughing. Cancers of the lung and bronchial passageways are typical, and smokers overall have a higher incidence of all kinds of cancers.
Now why would you want your children to face a future like that?
TOBACCO 21 efforts are gaining traction across the country. Iola is on the leading edge of the curve.
Good for us!

— Susan Lynn

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